It’s the start of a new year and many business-to-business companies are planning what they can do to fill the sales pipeline. Part of that is developing a communications strategy and deciding what to say in ads, websites and social media to attract new customers.
We had the opportunity to do a quick communications plan for a client recently, and we used a very simple tool to decide what message would be the most effective. You can use it too.
All prospective clients have different types of needs from the business category you’re in. They can be broadly split into two categories – rational and emotional needs.
Rational needs are the list of factors that clients assess when ticking off their list or comparing competitors. For example, price, deliverables, features and benefits.
Emotional needs are how you make your prospective clients feel. Does your business give them feelings of reassurance or breaking free? Do they feel intelligent by working with you, or in control? Research has shown that feelings are more important than rational needs in winning B2B contracts – a surprising fact that I’ve explained in a recent WABN opinion piece.
The Simple B2B Communications Plan provides a framework for you to consider those needs, both rational and emotional. It might help to think of it as left brain and right brain – the left is analytical thinking, and the right is intuitive.
In the top two boxes, put yourself in your prospective client’s shoes – what do they want from the business category you’re in? For example, the rational needs might be attributes, features or the scope of services. The emotional needs could be feelings of achievement, security or in control.
In the bottom two boxes, think seriously about your brand. Be honest: can you realistically offer emotional reassurance for prospective clients when you’ve only been around for 2 years? How is your brand currently positioned? As the cheapest, best or most sophisticated? It’s probably right to build on that.
The centre of the framework is decision time. If you could only communicate one fact that fulfilled rational needs, and evoke one feeling within your target prospects, what would it be?
We will share some more examples of this brand tool in action in the coming weeks, and we look forward to hearing how it works for you. Please contact us if you’d like a complementary blank A3 template to work with, and best wishes in attracting your prospective clients this year.